Churches could be open again very soon (Picture: Getty Images)

The UK is gradually adjusting to its ‘new normal’ as coronavirus lockdown measures are being relaxed – with a large-scale rollback of lockdown measures in England due on 4 July.

With other aspects of life slowly approaching normality, many have been left wondering when places of worship might be able to resume normal activity, with churches, synagogues, mosques and temples having been forced to close in the wake of lockdown back in March.

Here’s what you need to know…

When will places of worship re-open in the UK?

The Government said that places of worship in England were able re-open in from Monday 15 June – but only for private worship.

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This means that people can go inside religious buildings for prayer while maintaining social distancing – but that weddings, group services and other religious ceremonies will not be allowed.

The reopening of places of worship originally came under phase 3 of the Government’s plan for lifting lockdown, meaning they were due to open no earlier than 4 July.

However, ministers were warned that worshippers had felt ‘disappointment and hurt’ at not being able to visit places of worship sooner, while non-essential shops had been allowed to re-open.

A sign on the door of the East London Mosque which is closed, at Maghrib prayer during the holy month of Ramadan, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday April 24, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Places of worship closed in March as the UK went into lockdown (Picture: PA)

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, religious services have been able to start up again from 29 June.

In Wales, churches and other religious buildings have been allowed to reopen for private prayer from 22 June.

Services are not being held, including baptisms, weddings and funerals.

And in Scotland, houses of worship have reopened only for private prayer and funerals.

Accross the UK, these reopenings are subject to the houses of worship being able to ensure the safety of those who worship there through social distancing.

When did places of worship close?

Places of worship first closed on 24 March when the UK-wide lockdown was first implemented, leaving people unable to mark certain festivals – including Easter, Ramadan, the Hindu/Sikh festival of Vaksakhi and the Jewish festivals of Passover and Shavuot – in the same way as usual.

The Government has been working with faith leaders to find ways that religious buildings can safely re-open.

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While religious services and weddings have been unable to take place, funerals were allowed to proceed under lockdown in England, but only at crematoriums or the graveside, and with a limited number of mourners in attendance.

A Number 10 spokeswoman previously said on the matter: ‘The Prime Minister recognises how important it is, at this unprecedented time, for people to have the space to reflect and pray, to connect with their faith, and to be able to mourn for their loved ones.

‘The PM is so grateful to people of all faiths and none, who have followed the social distancing guidelines, and in doing so, protected their communities. ‘

We plan to open up places of worship for individual prayer in a safe, Covid-secure way that does not risk further transmission.’

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Source: Metro